Assange is still not free

Delaying extradition is a success we must build into a victory

In 2022, I ran for US Senate for my party in Oregon. I was up against Ron Wyden, the notoriously pro-war Democrat beloved by the state’s deep blue machine. There was little chance of ousting him, but he had to be called out for his anti-Russia and pro-Israel politics.

That was easy enough – he was constantly pushing hostility with Russia, and is #10 since 1980 in Israel lobby donations. And even blue dogs in a state like this will sometimes vote their “conscience” when they feel their party’s control is safe.

Our government wars both overseas, and against us here at home

Running against Wyden on foreign policy was easy to do. But it’s not a vote getter. Voters care about the economy, jobs, individual liberties, issues closer to home. Politicians understand this and focus on domestic issues. Wyden has had a “pro-privacy” shtick for a long time, acting like NSA spying and the Patriot Act were a big deal to him. It’s an act; he wouldn’t be on the Senate Intelligence committee if he weren’t an intel insider. And as Mike Pompeo admitted, what US intel does is lie, cheat and steal.

I made sure to mention Julian Assange in my campaign. That includes page 28 of the 2022 Oregon State Voter’s Pamphlet. On the next page Wyden called himself the Senate’s “leading privacy advocate.” But he has done nothing to advocate for our right to know the dirty secrets his committee protects.

Focusing on foreign policy doesn’t get votes. Chris Henry of the Progressive Party, a split-off from the Pacific Green Party, outpolled me. The best he could do on foreign policy was propose to bring the troops home and put them to work in a government tree-planting program. But he also talked about unions, social justice, health care, all those close-to-home issues people actually care about.

What we are up against

Not even Ron Wyden pretends to defend Julian Assange. That’s because his “privacy” shtick doesn’t apply to transparency. The American people can be easily fearmongered into accepting secrecy in the face of a supposed enemy. And when Wikileaks published “collateral murder,” so began the counterattack by the national security state.

I still find it hard to fathom why war criminals should be protected because they’re our war criminals. But I’m not fool enough to deny it’s how many people feel. This is what people are like. Tribal, emotional, irrational. When the powers that be keep them afraid, they will reject truth itself if they feel threatened by it.

The UK is no better than the US

Britain may be subordinate to the US hegemon, but it’s not happy about it. That’s why it joined France in pushing to overthrow the Libyan government. Why it pushed Ukraine out of negotiating a peace deal in 2022. If the British government had an ounce of integrity, Assange would have been released as soon as Sweden dropped charges, at the latest. Today’s win in court may be a win in court, or maybe it’s political. The can has been kicked down the road, until when? After the US presidential election? If Biden asked the UK to help his chances by delaying negative press, maybe they would oblige. They are corrupt enough.

Corrupt impunity is what it is

When thoroughly and openly corrupt people control an organization, and you can’t do anything about it, you’re in serious trouble. If you think about, you or I could be arrested tomorrow and locked up indefinitely just like Julian.

So what now?

The question how to get Julian out of prison, is the same as how to get ourselves out of the same situation. We no longer live in an effective democracy. What to do about it? Some say give up – can’t fix a broken system from within, and so forth. Others also say give up – by backing movement-based politics that gravitates toward authoritarian control by demagogues. Still others say what my party has always said – build a decentralized organization that keeps power distributed at the grassroots level.

Normally this would be where I say what I say. But I’ve been at this long enough to understand how easy it is for an organization to lose its way. My party’s last officer election was corrupted by people who tried to throw out more than half the ballots to avoid losing. It was wrong, and that’s why this site exists. But there are some who don’t care, think it’s just as well, or even for the best. Who have forgotten that the organizational principles of politics are the same on the large and small scale. Who is corrupt in what is little, is corrupt in what is much, and can succeed only at corruption.

Julian Assange is a victim of corruption, as are we all. We fight to free ourselves, as we fight to free him. I don’t claim to have the answers, but I’m still committed to finding them.

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